Artist: Caro Emerald, Holland
Notes: Delicious, percolating slice of fun in an old-school style by Dutch songstress. Caro(line) is mostly a jazz-pop chanteuse, big name back in the Netherlands, trained at the Amsterdam Conservatory - also a member of close harmony sextet called Les Elles.
Song: Inner Smile
Artist: Texas, Scotland
Album: The Greatest Hits, 2000
Notes: Lovely hypnotic groove from veteran Scottish rock-pop combo. Texas are still going strong, celebrated 25 years together last year, led as always by their classy and soulful lead singer Sharleen Spiteri.
Song: One Life
Artist: James Morrison, England
Album: The Awakening, 2011
Notes: Criminal that his latest album has already been sorely overlooked in the US. Distinctive soul/pop grit on this ballad, one of several superb tracks from last year's fine collection. He's racked up major hits all over the world but yet to crack the American market where he remains largely "undiscovered".
Artist: Carly Simon, New York
Notes: Delightful fizzing rumbler pairing Carly Simon with the great disco architects, Chic's formidable rhythm section, Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers and featured in the movie 'Soup for One'. (Rodgers also helmed Bowie's 'Let's Dance' among many others.)
Artist: Matt Cardle, England
Album: Letters, 2011
Notes: Anthemic pop-rock strains from a fresh young solo English performer, previously in a band called Seven Summers. Terrible admission: signed to the Lex Luther of the music industry, Simon Cowell's Syco label - but still at terrific no-nonsense track.
Song: My Girl
Artist: Madness, England
Album: One Step Beyond?, 1979
Notes: Top-drawer rocksteady-pop by the cheeky chappies who are sheer Madness. Mostly known over here for their 'Our House' smash - but one of Britain's most enduring bands - a large aggregation of seven musicians fronted by charismatic lead singer, Suggs.
Song: Something Good Can Work
Artist: Two Door Cinema Club, N. Ireland
Album: Tourist History, 2010
Notes: The first single by the increasingly hip combo (also used in France in a tv commercial for a French bank). Sprightly trio now based in Glasgow, Scotland, been together for about four years.
Song: Sneak Into My Room
Artist: James Levy & The Blood Red Rose, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Pray To Be Free, 2012
Notes: A+ new music blending Levy's deep baritone vocal with guest female vocal by (The Pierces' Allison Pierce) and rather velvety strings arrangement. Levy lives in a basement flat in Brooklyn with no windows, sleeps all day and likes to write about 'death and relationships, and the death of relationships.' Produced by Coldplay's Guy Berryman.
Song: Poor Shirley
Artist: Christopher Cross, San Antonio, TX
Album: Christopher Cross, 1979
Notes: Lost pearl by perhaps the best falsetto male voice of the 1980s, the now deeply unhip (but ace) Cross. From his massive breakout Grammy winning debut album - probably the most complete soft rock LP of its era.
Song: I Will Be Waiting
Artist: Daphne Willis, Chicago
Album: Because I Can, 2011
Notes: Shades of Colbie Caillat (and nothing wrong with that) from Daphne's fine sophomore set which came and went last year. She's still just 24 years old, two fine CDs under her belt, now based in Nashville (where she often performs at the legendary Bluebird Cafe).
Song: Kiss You Up
Artist: MoZella, Detroit
Album: Not available, 2011
Notes: Yet another lovely number from L&F favorite, the always rewarding Maureen McDonald (aka Mozella). The original demo of a song subsequently covered by young actress/singer, Miranda Cosgrove. The original, still the best.
Song: Dust In The Wind
Artist: Black Lab, Berkeley, CA
Album: Not available, 2011
Notes: Recorded by the band during a brief period of writer's block last autumn, a fascinating trip-hop version of the over-played evergreen Kansas rock classic. Band had a couple of modern rock successes back in the late '90s and an intermittent career since then, now currently unsigned (check out their self-released an Unplugged CD from last year).
Song: Mandolin Wind
Artist: Rod Stewart, England
Notes: "The coldest winter in almost 14 years" - just fabulous. Rod's vintage corker featuring fine mandolin playing by Lindisfarne's Ray Jackson. Rod should start writing his own material again (American Songbook fare is nauseating.)
Artist: East Village, England
Album: Drop Out, 1993
Notes: East Village were the sibling duo of Martin and Paul Kelly, who cut only one album together, a faithful brand of jangly Byrds-inspired rock. Album was issued by an excellent UK label, Heavenly Records which is still going strong today -- lots of free downloads on their website www.heavenlyrecordings.com.
Song: Dark Horse
Artist: Amanda Marshall, Canada
Album: Amanda Marshall, 1995
Notes: Too good for prime time, how was this not a hit? - perfect melodic pop-rock from fine Canadian songstress (who hasn't been able to release any new records for 10 years due to some contractual issues). New album should emerge this year.
Song: Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
Artist: David Bowie, England
Notes: The self-destructive demise of his alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust, Bowie on golden vintage form. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alumnus, David Robert Jones (who turned 65 last Sunday).
Song: Red Flag
Artist: Chelsea Williams, Santa Monica, CA
Album: Red Flag single, 2012
Notes: Brassy and brand new cut from a spunky, unsigned, street-performing alternative-folk popper based in LA. Chelsea sells her music performing in Santa Monica on the (rather touristy) Third Street Promenade and at small clubs and coffee houses around Hollywood. More at myspace.com/chelseawilliams.
Song: Set Fire To The Rain
Artist: Adele, England
Album: 21, 2011
Notes: Lost and Found's final airing of the incredible soul-pop anthem which is now a hit. First spun on the show 11 months ago.
Song: Golden Days
Artist: Damnwells, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Air Stereo, 2006
Notes: Top-notch mellifluous guitar work and harmonized vocals from Brooklyn-based combo which has been around for some ten years, led by its two frontmen, Alex Dezen and Ted Hudson. Check out their 'Golden Days' documentary on Netflix. More at www.thedamnwells.com.
Song: Wishing On A Star
Artist: Rose Royce, Los Angeles
Notes: Outstanding slice of melodic pop-soul from R&B combo which scored two huge crossover disco/soul hits in the mid-'70s ('Car Wash' and 'I Wanna Get Next To You'). Song showcases production genius of the great Norman Whitfield (ex-Motown).
Artist: Edison Lighthouse, England
Album: On The Rocks, 1970
Notes: Fabulous and timeless one-hit wonder from way back when. Lead singer was Tony Burrows who fronted what was essentially a British studio session band. The evergreen tune was inked by Tony Macaulay who wrote lots of hits for other acts including Marmalade, the Fifth Dimension, Long John Baldry, even Donna Summer
Song: Enough Time
Artist: Ghosts, England
Album: Enough Time, EP, 2012
Notes: First-rate spanking new music from fresh British combo. A mid-tempo synth-pop-rock shuffler which should be a hit. Indietronica band was formed last year by from former Ou Est Le Swimming Pool members, Alex Starling and drummer Ian Palmer. Remember where you heard it first.
Artist: Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, Detroit
Album: New Ground, 2002
Notes: Blues-rock belter by immensely underrated, and blind performer, Bradley who's originally from Alabama. Discovered by the guys who subsequently became his backing band, Blackwater Surprise, while busking on the streets of Detroit.
Song: In The Ghetto
Artist: Elvis Presley, Tupelo, MS
Album: From Elvis In Memphis, 1969
Notes: Era-defining tale of generational poverty composed by Mac Davis, this remains the definitive version of a classic subsequently covered by the likes of the Cranberries, Nick Cave, Dolly Parton, Natalie Merchant - even the KLF.
Artist: Eric Church, Granite Falls, NC
Album: Chief, 2011
Notes: Top-drawer Country outing about how music uniquely writes the soundtrack to our lives, how a melody can take you back to a specific moment or event like nothing else. Eric had his first child last year, Boone McCoy Church.
Song: Playin’ For Keeps
Artist: Elle King, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Not available, 2011
Notes: This new performer is going to be a star - period - so much grit and soul oozing out of her voice. Another as yet unreleased corker. Elle's currently in the studio recording her maiden effort. More at myspace.com/ellekingmusic.
Artist: Graffit6, England
Album: Colours, 2011
Notes: Currently hitting with 'Free' and touring around the US in the middle of winter, the title cut from a sterling debut set by British duo of Tommy D and Jamie Scott.
Song: I Want To Break Free
Artist: Queen, England
Album: The Works, 1984
Notes: Written by bassist, John Deacon, a long overlooked nugget by Freddie and the boys. Brilliant cheesy filtered guitar break by Brian May and extended synth bridge in this extended version - which the record label muppets edited out when originally issued as a single.
Song: White Feather
Artist: Red Sky July, Scotland
Album: Red Sky July, 2011
Notes: Delicious soft treat with superb harmonies by the two female singers in the group, Shelly Poole and Charity Hair. Shelly is the wife of Ally McErlaine who rounds out the trio (and who is also the guitarist with Scottish rockers, Texas).
Song: Cold Coffee
Artist: Ed Sheeran, England
Notes: BRIT Awards nominee and all round top new singer-songwriter from the UK with a perfect coffee house acoustic brew. Snapped up by Atlantic Records last year which is finally releasing his debut album called '+' very soon.
Song: Across 110th Street
Artist: Bobby Womack, Cleveland, OH
Notes: Bursting with bleak ghetto realism, the authentic soul of Bobby Womack with the mighty title theme to the 1972 movie. R&B great Womack wrote the Rolling Stones' first big hit, 'It's All Over Now'.
Artist: Gladys Knight, Atlanta
Album: Miss Gladys Knight, 1978
Notes: Too sad for words, one of the best and least known ballad recordings by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Of all the dozens of Gladys Knight albums you can still buy, you can't purchase the superb one on which this gorgeous song resides.
Artist: Gotye feat. Kimbra, Belgium/Australia
Album: Making Mirrors, 2011
Notes: Bitter and twisted post-relationship musings from promising Belgian/Aussie performer, a fascinating and fresh outing which is now being picked up by other shows and stations (L&F played it months ago).
Song: Lost and Found
Artist: Lianne La Havas, England
Album: Lost and Found EP, 2011
Notes: Restrained, smokey sound from a soulful newcomer. La Hava is 22 years old, the daughter of Greek and Jamaican parents, a promising singer-songwriter who's also proficient on the piano and guitar. Recently opened for Bon Iver on some North American dates.
Song: Happy Now
Artist: Will Young, England
Album: Echoes, 2011
Notes: Great track with a mellow groove and note perfect vocal execution co-written by the singer who was (unfortunately) the winner of the first 'Pop Idol' series in the UK (which subsequently spawned 'American Idol' and 'X Factor' nonsense). Definitive proof that there is no musical discrimination on L&F.
Artist: New Musik, England
Album: From A to B, 1980
Notes: Another fine synth-pop cut by an English outfit fronted by songwriter/producer Tony Mansfield - who went on to have a successful career as a top producer for other artists including Aztec Camera and B52s.
Song: Miss Chatelaine
Artist: k.d. lang, Canada
Album: Ingenue, 1992
Notes: Grab some coffee or wine, a French-tinged, breezy, vintage winner from k.d. whose vocal control is virtually unmatched. Fun accompanying video still around on YouTube in which she's unrecognizably dressed as an extremely feminine and glamorous woman.
Song: Old Pine
Artist: Ben Howard, England
Album: Every Kingdom, 2011
Notes: Rollicking, organic indie-folk, now the first single from a shimmering and accomplished debut album. Just 23 years old, picking up a burgeoning following over here: very much influenced by folk icons John Martyn and Nick Drake. More at myspace.com/benhoward.
Artist: Solomon Burke/Patty Griffin, Philadelphia, PA/Old Town, ME
Notes: Soul great Burke's original version of the Patty Griffin-penned tribute to Martin Luther King segued into her own subsequent update. Divine stuff.